Details of the case:
• This is an individual task
• Answer all 5 questions at the end of the case
• The contents page should breakdown the structure of your case (Introduction, Mainbody, Conclusions etc.)
• The report should be uploaded in pdf format
• Wordcount: 1500 words
• Cover, Table of Contents, References and Appendix are excluded of the total wordcount.
• Font: Arial 12,5 pts.
• Text alignment: Justified.
• The in-text References and the Bibliography have to be in Harvard’s citation style.
High Context Low Context Sales and Sales Leadership
Anthropologist Edward T. Hall’s theory of high- and low-context culture helps us better understand the
powerful effect culture has on communication. A key factor in his theory is context. This relates to the
framework, background, and surrounding circumstances in which communication or an event takes place.
The following summary highlights the problems facing low-context North Americans when they interact
with people from high-context cultures.
High-context cultures (including much of the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and South America) are relational,
collectivist, intuitive, and contemplative. This means that people in these cultures emphasize interpersonal
Developing trust is an important first step to any business transaction. According to Hall, these cultures are
collectivist, preferring group harmony and consensus to individual achievement. And people in these cultures
are less governed by reason than by intuition or feelings. Words are not so important as context, which might
include the speaker’s tone of voice, facial expression, gestures, posture—and even the person’s family history
and status. A Japanese manager explained his culture’s communication style to an American: “We are a
homogeneous people and don’t have to speak as much as you do here. When we say one word, we
understand ten, but here you have to say ten to understand one.” High-context communication tends to be
more indirect and more formal. Flowery language, humility, and elaborate apologies are typical.
Low-context cultures (including North America and much of Western Europe) are logical, linear,
individualistic, and action-oriented.
People from low-context cultures value logic, facts, and directness. Solving a problem means lining up the facts
and evaluating one after another. Decisions are based on fact rather than intuition. Discussions end with actions.
And communicators are expected to be straightforward, concise, and efficient in telling what action is expected.
To be absolutely clear, they strive to use precise words and intend them to be taken literally. Explicit contracts
conclude negotiations. This is very different from communicators in high-context cultures who depend less on
language precision and legal documents. High-context business people may even distrust contracts and be
offended by the lack of trust they suggest.
These questions must be answered within the context of your report:
- Pick a sales organization and describe the organization in terms of (i) the sales management function (ii) How sales
forms part of the overall company strategy.
- Pick a purchasing organization and describe the organization in terms of (i) the purchasing function (ii) How
purchasing forms part of the overall company strategy.
- Using the information above and using the sales organization, develop example scenarios of a Low Context and
High Context partnership (two countries). Describe how selling might need to be adapted in these scenarios.
- Using the information above and using the purchasing organization, develop example scenarios of a Low Context
and High Context partnership (two countries). Describe how purchasing might need to be adapted in these
- How would sales leadership be adapted in the scenarios described in question 3.
Submission: Week 9 – Via Moodle (Turnitin). Sunday 28
th March at 23:59
Weight: This task is a 20% of your total grade for this subject.
It assesses the following learning outcomes:
• Understand the sales management function as part of the overall company strategy.
• Evaluate the sales operations management functions and its role in salesforce effectiveness and productivity.
• Apply procurement strategies to effective account management.